A former Kenya Sports Cabinet Secretary could land a maximum of three years in jail after he was found guilty of corruption charges.
Hassan Wario, who was the head of the Ministry of Sports during the 2016 Rio Olympics, was found guilty of abuse of office and misuse of public funds in a Sh88.6 million graft case.
Wario is set to be sentenced alongside Stephen Soi. Soi was Team Kenya’s chef de mission in the scandalous Rio Games.
An ailing Wario and Soi will be sentenced on Thursday.
The two were found guilty while four other accused were acquitted by a Nairobi magistrate’s court. The acquitted include Haron Komen, Francis Paul and Patrick Nkabu Kimani.
“That was four years in hell,” Francis Paul who was elected as the country’s NOC-K secretary-general in the last election said moments after his acquittal.
While he admits that it will take time and effort to win back the trust of the delegates who once trusted him with the running of the country’s best-funded sports body, Paul has not ruled out the idea of vying for another term.
“I know that the first term is about to end. I will first have to consult with my delegates and see whether they will allow me to stand,” said the long-serving president of the Kenya Handball Federation.
The charges included making unauthorized payments, over-payment of allowances and purchasing tickets worth Sh22million.
The ‘Rio Six’ were accused of embezzling part of the Sh88.6 million meant for the purchase of air tickets and part of the Sh120 million annual Nike sponsorship deal for Kenya.
The court, however, established that the Ministry of Sports failed to account for Sh54 million.
The shambolic Rio Games planning saw athletes like the former world (javelin) champion Julius Yego purchase his own air ticket with NOC-K officials being accused of giving ‘joyriders’ the priority.
“Courts can be emotionally draining. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Whether I was going to be acquitted or not. Some didn’t even want to spend a minute with me. No one even wanted to invite me for sports functions anymore because nobody wants to associate with a suspect
“As you know the legal process takes time in this country. Those were four years of hell. Friends ran away from me. I had nothing to do for four years – waking each morning but with nowhere to go.
The Penal Code (Constitution of Kenya) provides that a public official who is convicted of corruption can face imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years.